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Lowe's plans 1,000-worker Indianapolis call center

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Home-improvement retailer Lowe's decided to put a new call center with hundreds of jobs in Indianapolis in part because of the helpfulness it found among Indiana workers, an executive said Tuesday.

The North Carolina-based retailer announced it would spend $20.5 million to buy and equip an office building in a business park on the city's northwest side. Lowe's said it expects to open the center early next year and create up to 1,000 new jobs by 2016.

Lowe's considered about 900 sites for the call center over the past couple of years but chose Indianapolis for several reasons, including the availability of a good facility and adding a Midwest location to existing customer support centers in North Carolina and New Mexico, Dan Easterling, the company's vice president of contact centers, told The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1wXaNZz).

"But the main reason is the people, a highly-skilled workforce and an unbelievable work ethic," he said. "They really have a natural sense for wanting to help that you really can't teach. We've found that here in a strong way."

Wages will average between $10 and $14 per hour, Easterling said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Lowe's up to $5.5 million in tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants.

Lowe's will begin hiring for the new jobs immediately, and most of the people it hires will be from Indianapolis, Easterling said. Lowe's already employs nearly 7,900 people at 44 Indiana stores.

The call center will occupy a building that housed information technology operations for drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. until its lease expired last year.

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